Alumna teaches art course to help with mental health

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Provo artist and instructor Carin Fausett helps a student work out the meaning behind her painting. Fausett offers art classes aimed at helping others deal with mental health issues. (Brittany Salinas)

BYU alumna Carin Fausett believes art can be more than just a pastime. She believes it can heal and change lives for the better, which she demonstrates through her “Course of Wisdom” art classes and exhibits at the Here Gallery in Provo.

Her art class is the first of a series offering students the chance to meditate and reason through life events, which Fausett believes can be helpful for individuals who want to overcome challenges in their personal lives.

“I figured out how to keep going when life falls apart,” Fausett said. “I studied and applied concepts learned in my own life and then realized I could do something for others.”

Fausett noticed moments of grief, depression and isolation in her own life and in the lives of family members, which led her to search for a way to process and work through those moments.

A painting completed by a participating student of Carin Fausett’s “Course of Wisdom.” (Brittany Salinas)

The first class consists of a meditative exercise where participants reflect on different life stages. Students then paint words, images or symbols that represent sources of depression, grief or stress. To end the course, students are asked to cover the initial painting with symbols representing the present and future.

“With this, I get a chance to look back on experiences that I missed out on and things that I have been through in my life,” said Midvale artist Jennifer Slack, who traveled half an hour to attend the art course. “When I opened myself to it, it was revelatory. When I closed myself off to it, it wasn’t the same. It all depends on what each person is ready for.”

Fausett said acknowledging negative feelings and pain can be difficult but when taken as something to learn from, can lead to growth.

“There are so many stages of loss and grief and heartache in this life, but there is always something to look forward to when you can accept all of that and overcome it,” she said.

Kara Brandt — a Spanish Fork resident and Fausett’s friend — said she believes the art course could be helpful for students struggling with mental problems like anxiety or depression.

UVU student Nikki Tolman holds her painting created during Fausett’s art course. (Brittany Salinas)

“It’s a safe place to feel and connect with emotions that have been trapped,” she said. “Students stuck in perfectionism are always striving for great achievement. Doing this helps them reach their divine, authentic self without worrying about messing up.”

Fausett also dedicates artwork towards helping individuals through addiction recovery, which is the focus of her art exhibit, “The Resurrection.”

To learn more about Carin Fausett’s artwork and available courses, visit her website.